There are less than five days left for the month of Ramadan to end. The fasting month started on August 1st and could either end on 29th or 30th, 2011.
The month of Ramadan, (month of fasting) is one of the greatest religious observances in Islam. Muslims estimate a month based on expected visibility of a new moon and may vary according to location.
The newly elected Deputy Mufti of Rwanda Sheikh Mussa Sindagaya, explains the importance of Ramadan (fasting) month.
Born in Kamonyi District, in the Southern Province, Sindagaya attained a Bachelors Degree at the Islamic University of Madinah (al-Madeenah), Saudi Arabia majoring in Islamic law. He is currently pursing a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Kabale in Uganda.
Although Sheikh Mussa Sindagaya had served at AMUR (Rwanda Muslim Association) before, he was elected to the position of Deputy Mufti on June 3rd, 2011 by the National Council of the Muslim Community in Rwanda.
“As a new team, we are doing our best to serve the community and setting our goals priorities for the five-term in office,” Sindagaya expresses.
He adds that with just two months in office, he has not been faced with administrative challenges as yet.
“We are still working with the former team and in cases of difficulties, we will consult them. A good leader does not over look the former person in their position but instead deals with them to solve issues since they are more experienced than you are,” Sindagaya explains.
Regarding the month of Ramadan he said: “Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar which is dedicated to Fasting. A month may have 29 or 30 days based on the day the moon appears.”
Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan following the fasting month.
“We celebrate Eid al Fitr because we have accomplished the task given to us by Allah. It is celebrated after the appearing of the new moon or after 30 days,” he narrates.
“Fasting is essential for spiritual growth. During fasting periods one is refraining themselves from eating and drinking, thus spiritual growth,” Sindagaya discloses.
He adds eating during the fasting period is a grave sin according to Islam.
“Eating in the month of Ramadan is violating Allah’s commands. Fasting also teaches patience. Assume someone does not have food for a day, they can’t steal because they got trainings during the fasting period,” says Sindagaya.
He said: “While fasting we get to experience hunger thus know what the poor go through if they don’t have anything to eat. We become compassionate. Vulnerable people always need our assistance and its one of the main lessons learnt in the month of Ramadan.”
Several rules constitute the month of Ramadan for instance, some of the important rules for fasting include; intention, restraining and denying your body sexual pleasure to promote holiness.
Fasting starts from dawn to sunset.
“While breaking the fast, it’s important to eat something light such as fruits or water. Sweet foods have sugars which help in boosting one’s energy after spending a day without food,” Sindagaya advises.
He further adds that fasting is healthy although in some cases one can break the fast.
“Women in their menstruation period are advised to break the fast since they lose a lot of energy at the time. It’s logical, Islamic rules are flexible and it’s realistic. She is allowed to repay the fasting days during any time of the year,” he explains.
Sheikh Mussa Sindagaya is married to Mariam Mukakarangwa and they have been blessed with two sons and a daughter.
Mukakarangwa said: “We have been married for the last eight years and my husband has always been soft spoken and an honest person. He is also a good listener.”
She adds that with his good listening skills, he offers advice to people even when he doesn’t have material support to present to them.
Ismail Ntihabose, the Executive Producer of Kinyarwanda is a close friend to Sheikh Mussa Sindagaya.
“We met at a family wedding and we have been close friends since. Sheikh Mussa Sindagaya is one of the most devoted and religious people I have known. He works hard to bring change in the Muslim Community in Rwanda,” says Ntihabose.